I'm a lifelong commuter....and I have been working in NYC for over 25 years. Back in 2006, I had the "ah-hah" moment. It was the morning after a particularly rough commute home (via Penn Station).
I stood on the train platform and saw people I “knew” doing the same thing as me: waiting for the train…reading their Blackberries. It became clear to me on that morning:
Technology gives us the ability to be connected…but we’re oftentimes not connected to each other
Clever Commute was born as a handshake agreement among a handful of commuters. It is now a part of the fabric of the commute. Our current core audience are people who ride LIRR, Metro North, NJT, PATH, and commuter buses in/out of NYC.
Over the years, we have grown and expanded, and added new features and data sources. We have gone well beyond crowdsourcing by offering premium services (not in scope for this MTA challenge).
We recognize that several of the transit providers already have alerting systems in place…and Clever Commute does not try to replace that.
Originally, our technology platform was e-mail and that served the commuters well. We built a "back end" processing engine which ensures a satisfying experience for our users. Our technology quickly processes all messages shared by the commuters. We ensure that each alert is appropriate, on-subject and not duplicative. Commuters only receive messages which are relevant to their train/bus line. As our user base increasingly embraced smartphones and other mobile devices, we created apps which only improve on the user experience. Our users love it.